“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Cicero
Hooray for November! The month of gratitude, the month of Thanksgiving. Of course, every month and every day and every moment are opportunities for mindfulness and gratitude, but this season when the holidaze descends upon us is an ideal time to cultivate those virtues. To sit still for one moment. To embody the present moment, releasing what’s happened in the distant or recent past, letting go of what could happen in the immediate or distant future.
Whether you’ve never officially “meditated” or you have a formal sitting practice, it’s helpful to get back to the basics. Gratitude for the constant breath is step one.
Although our breath is with us from the moment of birth until the moment of death, most of the time we take it for granted.
With mindfulness, we cultivate awareness of and gratitude for the in-breath and out-breath. Every inhale and exhale connects us to the body and anchors us to the reality of the present moment. There is no need to control or lengthen the breath. Let it be natural. Allow it to effortlessly flow in and out, feeling the sensation, enjoying the simplicity of the air filling your lungs and then exiting your nostrils, over and over.
Meditation does not have to last for an hour, or even five minutes. One moment of meditation is enough.
~ Be thankful. ~
Here are a few great quotes on gratitude and thankfulness:
* If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart
* Gratitude is the memory of the heart. ~Jean Baptiste Massieu
* I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
* Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~William Faulkner
* When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them. ~Chinese Proverb
* Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did. ~Sarah Caldwell
* Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving. ~Kahlil Gibran
* No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. ~Elie Wiesel
* After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings. ~Richard Dawkins
* Ingratitude is the essence of vileness. ~Immanuel Kant
* I thank God for my handicaps, for, through them, I have found myself, my work, and my God. ~Helen Keller
* Tolerate, change, or be grateful. ~Anonymous